Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slum – the other side!

Or Lake – the other side!
Ok, in these days of slumdog frenzy u wouldn’t even care and let go that title!
Call it conflict of interest. Or just what ever..
I had to visit a slum or a part of it – as most of it was demolished.
But then it was on a lake in the south western suburbs of Madras (near tambaram). Normally am associated with renewing or restoring a waterbody. But here, a friend of mine asked me to volunteer with a group of people to go and survey for the details of the slum dwellers out there. As a part of a court directive many encroachments around lotsa lakes in Madras are being evicted. This means demolishing of structures too.
What would have otherwise been a passable news pulled me a bit more closer.
Knowing fully well it could be in contrast to my views & passion, I went sniffing.
Its after all some leg work they are asking for, so what – I thought. But it was a school for the slum kids run by one old lady that was also demolished.
I am not going to talk of the emotions behind running down a school, her fight or the pains and ruins of the poor slum dwellers on that lake.
Man! What a sight. What a place to live. Forget that all this is on a lake like most urban suburbs that unknowingly eat up water bodies. But what a pathetic sight.
Its not that I have never visited a slum or unhygienic rural spaces.
But this is one time I walked up & down across and also on the rubbles and we really knew what ‘shit’ was below.
All of us – our government, NGOs, me, you, just about everybody– have failed them and so badly. Not only did none educate them of the necessities of a water body or why such encroachments are so bad for next gens but we all didn’t care to tell them how & why it was important for them to live in better conditions. On one side the water body and water table was being polluted by these people and on the other side (again on the edge of the same lake) Municipality was dumping all our urban wastes.
This sandwiched slum was unlivable. Why is it that none seems to take any care for improving their conditions?
And now they are offered compensation! A piece of land as a relocation package. Lets even ignore the fact that this one cent (one 100th of an acre) is too less. Who will check if that is a good enough place. Who will ratify if that is not a marsh land or some other land that some other court order can shoo them away? Who will educate them and help them plan a neater and healthier surrounds? Esp now that they will start all over from 1st ball!
BTW a family (or was it more?) that was living right in the midst of garbage dump has been spared!
If there is an after life justice, we all shall be condemned to live in some shit hole for sure. That then should be a fair deal.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

One news, so many views

Or was it one view & still so many news!
His Holiness Dalailama was in town. I was there, thanks to sangeetha. It was nice to see such a big crowd show up at Madras to such a nice man. One of the few whole hearted practitioners of peace inspite of the Chinese onslaught, he is a man I rate very high. After having seen many tibetians esp during our tour of north sikkim, my reverence to this man increased manifold.
But one thing that struck me after attending his speech at the Madras University was – One need not be a great orator to be so successful & popular! In our college days we wud have named it ‘sappai’. It was a flat & bubbleless speech though interspersed with some western-like humour. But one could see how transparent, nice, cool and honest he looks and speaks. It was an experience, but failed the expectations! One image stands in my view still: a bunch of tibetain students from madras who were seated in the adjacent rows were seen standing with folded hands and so much of reverence in their eyes till he walked away from the stage.

Now to the subject: I told u I was there! I heard him say- He had no role to play in the srilankan crisis. Inspite of being a Buddhist leader, he said his attempts to bring some reason/sense in to the Burmese Junta failed and said it could go no where even if he interfered in the srilankan govt, inspite of it being a Buddhist country. He said his visit to srilanka, a Buddhist nation, has not been approved since 1970s and he has never gone there! He said violence was not a solution, but sadly he had no role to play.
But what did our media report it as?
Express said HH is not ready for a role in lankan crisis and Deccan said he is in for a role, Times said he will meet the lankan envoy and Hindu had different version!
Phew.. that’s amazing! In my opinion they all should have failed in SSLC if they ever went to school, for they couldn’t write this one small reply correctly!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

What a race!

Oh man! The Tamils are suffering, the politicos here say! Its indeed a very sad thing for a set of people who have been suffering for more than 2 generations now in Srilanka. But who has cared to understand their real problem? Even their own martyrs and militant leaders have ignored the ground realities and are braving genocide (suicide too).
Now am digressing- I did not want to discuss the srilankan tamil problem at all. But the race to gain political mileage is going on here. Each of these “tamil saviours" like MK, Ramadoss, Thiruma, neduma, vaiko all put up a show matching their capability and show their ‘utmost’ concern and act to their best of ability. Suddenly this race hots up. But, remember the rule of the game: it shudnt affect the eating of cake in their resp portfolios in the resp ministries and alliances. Now that the rules are set, they shall go forth and seek solace. Since the tamils in Srilanka are facing problems, we as brethren shud get to know a part of their problems. So buses shall be burnt here! public properties looted and vandalized! Hey, that’s just a way to teach us foolish public a lesson- on the srilankan tamils’ struggle, you know. So no buses shall ply in nights in south TN, people shall be put to enormous problems like no vehicles, no movement even of essentials. Long live the race!
Here, we as responsible citizens shudnt ask too many questions that too rationally! Then u shall be condemned to be anti-tamil! You shudnt take seriously some of their trading of charges like ‘he is paid by ltte’, ‘he is not talking, the money given by the poraligal is talking’ ‘we all know some of these tamil leaders are paid for by…’
So all we can do is sit back and enjoy and never get caught in the crossfire- here in TN! Don’t venture out when they fast for example! for they shall burn anything deemed to help the srilankan tamils’ struggle, like bus, shelter, your vehicle, public offices.
What a race we are, hmmm!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Busy busy..

Oops..days fly past so fast that am losing track of the people I met, projects visited, things that interested me etc..
Some of them that wud have, in normal times, been single long posts! but shall only have a quick mention here..
The outstanding and one who would be linked here many more times to come am sure, will be Murali Eswar! Check here for his blogs and here for their firm! thats an eco firm of interest and not only have green projects but also is an ‘Edison labs’ like venture capitalist although only for green ideas!
A very different and ecofriendly person with lotsa interesting green projects, he is one of the very interesting persons I met in the recent past.
Then ofcourse, neelam manjunath- of centre for green building! See here!
Even saw their upcoming green space called the Aditi green space in the far off byatrayanpura after hebbal. Though this is more a hep version of green structures, the extensive use of bamboo and many natural products incl mud blocks (so less of concrete used) all were impressive. This may not be the enviro friendly thirst quencher, but some small steps, sure. If I sound a bit nippy here its bcos of the abundant usage of chemicals in the bamboo curing/ processing and the amount of chemicals & paints involved around these green structures:-(
But some positive steps towards sustainability and popularizing the ecofriendly green architecture.
Finally, many of u know that I have been chasing the official world of babus reg the rejuvenation of a huge lake in our neighbourhood.. that wild goose hunt is still on! The top bureaucrat who sort of condescendingly pushed our paper a bit favourably down the ladder is gonna retire. The ones below, who know that, are deflecting it with such nuance one wud be tempted to compare their strokes to the little master! But the 'vetal' that iam, am really running helter skelter and pursuing it. Meaning I haven’t yet lost hopes..hmm hopes, else, where wud I be?

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

CHO’s Thuglak annual address '09

So yet another year and this journalist super star freaked out.
Only one of its kind (in the world, I guess) interaction by a mag/editor with its readers. Readers ask various questions (many very embarrassing & poignant) and CHO wud answer them with his typical quick wit, presence of mind and humour.
In the process he wud rip the politicians, parties and their shameless designs.
So what, some may ask and whats the use one may be tempted to pose..its such fun and really heart warming to see someone air honest and sharp opinions without fear. Who else can talk of the MK family, their designs n deeds, Sonia’s fallacies, JJ’s comic moves, DK veeramani’s hypocrisies, ltte’s downsides etc in open?
Yet another year, yet another fantastic speech by CHO! I was happy to be there (infact I used to plan my hols too around this during the CH days)
Some of the golden quotes:
- Sonia doesn’t get along well with any women! Be it JJ or maya or mamta or even sheela dixit from her own party! But she does go pally with one woman! Nalini- the one who helped the killers of her husband!
- TN congress is so battered that even I don’t prefer punching them. They will mouth “ we want to participate in TN govt” next day “we will ask sonia” next day “ we will obey Sonia” (incidentally the words for as & obey in tamil is same- soniavai ketpom, sonia solvathai ketpom)
- Man of the year is Azhagiri- what a man! 30% voting in the last 1 hour at thirumangalam and iam generally afraid of ‘adi thadi’..so rather I wud play safe and recommend him for this award.
- When a section objected to the bright lights of the videographer, cho in his inimitable style commented ‘ these guys are all used to black outs & current cuts; why do u keep the lights on?’ and then to the crowd- 'is he the arcot veerasamy-electricity minister? Why do u expect him to cut off lights randomly?'
- How easily MK spiked all these cine stars to protest against hokenekal issue and where is it now? Where are all those who delivered ‘emotional’ speeches? If they were to see the recording now, it shall beat any slapstick comedy.
- MK has offered to sacrifice his life so many times! What a man- with so many lifes! The latest is for ltte issue! Biggest joke is their fasts till now but recently its human chain! U can see everyone of the dmk cadres will be holding each other’s hand intact..then a pause ..else the hands wud go in to the other’s pocket and so..

If I had to ask him, I would Have posed these questions to him:
1/ Are you not proud that some 1000s of billions have been stashed by Indians in the swiss banks! (yet another 1st for the Indians in the recent days)
2/ IMHO there are 2 irreplaceable characters in tamil world- CHO & Sujatha. What does cho think of sujatha? Has he interacted with him?
3/ Why don’t you cover more about some environmental issues in thuglak, esp on Genetically Modified foods and such like.
4/ Why is it that u always pull down Abdul kalam’s effort (in the pretext of jokes). He is not even offered the longer rope that is often extended to JJ!

In all it was a great experience and I was seated right behind rajinikanth and am sure he enjoyed this speech more than any one! I saw him laugh his heart out so ofetn and even when he was commented up on more than twice.

Sidelines: Gangai amaran (bro of the genius ilayaraja) happened to sit near me before he shifted to the 1st row and we did have a row. My questions about the musical genius Ilayaraja seemed to have touched a wrong chord and this fella started to blast me off. It was shady & shameful that he cudnt digest the fact that his bro was being regarded so high. Sigh!!!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

‘appy pongal!

Pongal nalvazhthukkal!!
This is a great festival folks! Unique too.
If u notice, few thousand years back, all civilizations would regard sun as a prime god and so obviously had some festival of reverence and thanks giving to the prime giver!
Pongal is not only a harvest festival and thanksgiving to Sun but also has another day for the Cows(& Ox). That’s unique – maattu pongal. Very unique to this civilization.
What a way to identify one another giver like the sun and praying 2 of the greatest enablers of mankind!
In rural TN, even today they decorate the cows, paint their horns, and pray!
So guys even if you don’t do all these ‘pagan’ thingys, do stand by and observe them. Respect these prayers to the sun, cow, harvest and nature!
They really did value and venerate nature for they took cognizance of it. The very essence of understaning and respecting nature was there thousands of years back, hmmm.

Happy pongal folks!

Note: This is NOT Tamil new years day but! Just bcos some politico joker thought so. Some amasser of wealth and shallow thinker, foists this new theory of tamil new year from now! Its better ignoring and dispelling. Such jokers would just throw some cheap tricks and announce such laughable statements but would practise the English calendar for all his convenience. That Calendar is from time immemorial and so worth the culture preserved till now. So do not wish me our new year yet:-)

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

(A)satyam

asatyam means false or opposite of truth in most vernacular languages. Thats what it was.
But I cant understand all this brouhaha esp by our media, asusual!

Hey, he fudged some accounts, he tried to merge or transfer funds to save his clan's firm, he even lied to u, me and the authorities.
firstly I dont have any qualms about him trying to (mis)appropriate funds. It was after all his own firm- what ever u say about his stake being low or its public money, bla bla..what public money? what was that % and why shud he respect that? what of public was ever respected or rated high in this country anyways?
Secondly which companies in India do not lie, misappropriate, under invoice, make unethical moves. or who doesnt play with share market and its lowly investors?

Now, hold on! dont construe Iam supporting all this subterfuge but why all this noise about Satyam, I beg! Anything unethical and fraudulent needs to be punished. But I have some questions: Its a company which has handled many projects and which was the blue eyed boy of many of u(s) - banks, politicos, traders, investors & public! why suddenly everybody leaves him in a lurch? Did any of us question how & why he showed huge profits/projects quarter after quarter? Did any of us suspect when he traded & brokered "peace" with politicos? Did any of us bat an eyelid when ever he made news or even when he (or his clan) won a big infrastructure contract? and all those who are condemning anything associated with satyam now bother to check anything when the stock value soared.
So we all got it right, now! We deserve such idiots bcos we are such idiots.
and now don't condemn that company, it employees & all those executed projects - they were real! only the collective greed was misplaced and too much. This thud was required for all involved. Its only the founder/chairman who is at fault, not the company. spare it.

remember Anderson guys? how many of u associate Accenture to that now? so it shall all be short lived- our this week's feed of scrolling breaking news & scam quota. Lets wait for the next scam to take over.

Note: some shrill noises about the need to have govt interference and new laws of regulation made me ROFL! hey, whats up with all the existing laws, regulations etc? If these shall be side stepped any new one shall be too.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Short History of Medicine!

2000 BC to 2000 AD

2000 BC: Here, eat this root

1000 AD : That root is heathen. Here say this prayer

1850 AD : That prayer is superstition. Here drink this potion.

1940 AD : That potion is snake oil. Here swallow this pill.

1970 AD : That pill is ineffective. Here take this antibiotic.

1985 AD : That antibiotic is too weak. Here try this Cortisone.

2000 AD : That cortisone is dangerous. Here eat this root.